In an interesting post in the South China Morning Post called 'A World of Languages', Alberto Lucas Lopez, their graphics designer, created an infographic based on a study by the UN on languages most spoken around the world. Where does Bahasa Indonesia come in?
The infographic states: "There are at least 7,102 known languages alive in the world today. Twenty-three of these languages are a mother tongue for more than 50 million people. The 23 languages make up the native tongue of 4.1 billion people”. Since Indonesia has the fourth largest population in the world, it's no surprise that we make it into the top 23!
If you look at the first pie-chart (below), you'll see something interesting: Javanese takes centre with 84.3 million people speaking it, whilst at the top-centre it shows Malay/Bahasa is spoken by 60.5 million people (44 million of which are from Indonesia).
Now, does this information confuse you? It confused us as well: why is it that in a population of 240+ million people, only 128 million people are being shown on this chart? Well, this chart shows native tongue, so the graph tells us that many people must still speak their local dialects and consider that their mother tongue (rather than Bahasa Indonesia).
The infographic also shows the number of countries in which languages are spoken. Malay/Bahasa is spoken in 13, whilst Javanese alone is spoken in 3!
What's also show in a second graph is that Indonesia has the second highest number of active languages still used as a first language, with 707 languages being registered in the country.
Now, if that doesn't tell you that Indonesia is a true and rich centre for culture and diversity, I don't know what will!
Full Resolution of infographic here: http://www.lucasinfografia.com/Mother-tongues